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Shattered World

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Guys, when did we break off?
Illustration by Greg Martin. Used with permission.

In settings taking place on a planet or natural satellite, the planet or natural satellite is generally in one piece.

In a Shattered World, this is not the case.

Maybe magic or science has Gone Horribly Wrong, causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, or maybe something else bad has happened, but a former planet is now broken into small pieces, floating through space. If this trope is used as a setting, these pieces will usually have settlements of some sort on them (not to be confused with Asteroid Thickets, which are normally just obstacles). The question of why the pieces have not clumped back together by gravitational pull may or may not be addressed.

Unlike a Floating Continent, a Shattered World isn't hovering over a planet.

Often a case of Artistic License – Space, as any object that's large enough to be held together by its own gravity and form a planet is too large to be broken apart like this in the first place. If some world shattering event were to happen, you would not see the large, jagged chunks floating above the planet, as you might often see in fiction. At least, not for any length of time. The debris (excluding the bits ejected fast enough to escape entirely) would fall back onto the planet, which would also re-collapse back into a sphere, rather than remaining a shattered and broken world.

If the pieces are somehow hovering in an atmosphere with gravity, that's World in the Sky.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dead Leaves was so named for the resemblance to the shattered moon in the sky, explicitly noted in the anime.
  • The Digital World in Digimon Frontier has had large chunks taken out of it by Digimon that were corrupted by Cherubimon, though the pieces that are still intact remain where they were. The Royal Knights arc sees the remaining areas destroyed until the Digital World is just so many floating bits of ground with railroad tracks running between them.
  • KO Century 3 Beast Warriors takes place in a future where the Earth is split in half.
  • Scrapped Princess: The land where the series takes place is actually a big landmass broken off from Earth by aliens.
  • Macross:
    • Macross 7 has a Protodeviln suffer a Superpower Meltdown on planet Lux, which causes roughly half the planet's mass to disappear entirely. The remainder of the planet swiftly shatters and crumbles.
    • Macross Frontier shows one such world being made - with a bomb that warps a significant portion of the planet into fold space.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the 3000 Whys of Blue Cat episode "Will Earth Be Destroyed?", a huge explosion causes a piece of Earth to shatter off and fly into outer space. Blue Cat and Feifei happen to be on this piece of land.

    Comic Books 
  • Much like Sonic Unleashed (see Video Games), Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has a long-running storyline where Dr. Eggman inadvertently causes the entire planet to shatter to pieces, meaning the heroes have to try and restore it.
  • Earth itself was like this for some time before the first reboot of the Legion of Super-Heroes, being destroyed by the Dominators and rebuilt as a series of floating, interlinked, domed cities.
  • Somewhere in the 70s, Marvel Comics introduced Xandar, the homeworld of the Nova Corps. As part of its backstory, it was shattered and made into 4 interlinked habitats. (Summarily destroyed in 2005, in the start of Annihilation.)
  • The Triceraton homeworld in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of these. After the planet exploded, the Triceratons converted the different chunks into Floating Continent spaceships, which now comprise the backbone of the Triceraton fleet.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Mt. Surana is a mountain that was blasted off of its home planet and into space by an explosion created by Brutex. He also blew the adjoining valley into space as a separate chunk, and both moorless landmasses are still populated by the people who were on them when the explosion took place.

    Fan Works 
  • Austraeoh: Equestrians generally know that the world is a plane, much longer in the east-west direction than in the north-south. In Innavedr, it is revealed that this is only a part of the formerly ring-shaped world, long ago shattered into pieces.
  • Pure Light: As the comic takes place in the future of The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, the world is made up of islands and continents floating through the sky, the legacy of Malefor's barely failed attempt at destroying it back when it was still a solid planet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek:
    • About a sixth of the Klingon-controlled moon Praxis is (sort of) intact, after the "incident" it suffered at the beginning of Star Trek VI.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness: A shattered moon identical to Praxis is depicted in orbit of Qo'nos. Presumably, the Klingons studied the futuristic technology aboard the mining-ship Narada from the previous film, causing the mining accident to happen twenty years early.
  • Independence Day: In the beginning, the audience gets to see what appears to be a chunk of a destroyed planet, having its inhabitants wiped out by the Harvesters, just as the Harvester mothership is making her way towards Earth.
  • Star Wars: In A New Hope, the Millennium Falcon comes out of hyperspace amid the scattered remnants of Alderaan shortly after the Death Star uses its superlaser to destroy the planet.
  • The Time Machine (2002): As a result of lunar mining gone awry, the Moon shattered and ultimately formed an asteroid belt.
  • Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact: The Baltanian's Planet Spaceship appears to be a chunk of what used to be Planet Baltan, being towed by their leader, Dark Baltan, as he tries seeking a new world for the Baltanians.

  • Many older SF books mentioned that the Solar System's asteroid belt is the remnants of a rocky planet Phaeton (see Real Life section.)
    • In Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet, the heroes find that Phaeton was destroyed in a nuclear accident, and in Stranger in a Strange Land there's a line that says it was destroyed by the Martians.
    • In David Weber's Dahak series, alien invaders hit it with a big rock to destroy a First Imperium military base. Many more asteroid belts are found in other systems left after the Fourth Imperium's civil war.
    • In Fredric Brown's Letter to a Phoenix, the rebellious colony on the fifth planet was destroyed with the planet.
    • In James P. Hogan's Giants Series, the planet was called Minerva and was the original homeworld of both the titular giants and humans. The planet's moon was captured by Earth's gravity and became Earth's current moon as well.
    • In Gold in the Sky by Alan E. Nourse, the protagonists find an alien Time Capsule left on an asteroid in the Belt, including a map showing a planet once occupied the orbit between Jupiter and Mars.
    • In the Seetee series by Jack Williamson, a planet made of contraterrene exploded when it came into contact with normal matter, creating the Belt which Asteroid Miners are now mining for its CT.
    • Homaged in Rocketship Voyager when the Jovians make claim to the Asteroid Belt based on their "ancient victory over Phaeton — the planet whose destruction had originally formed the Asteroid Belt."

  • ''The Death Gate Cycle': The Earth is split into seven pieces, each with their associated elements. Their exact location in relation to each other is unclear, however, as is whether they are in our solar system or separate dimensions.
  • In Brian Earnshaw's book Dragonfall 5 and the Space Cowboys, pieces of a small planet, called The Broken World. Inhabited by cowboy ranchers and actual blue grass.
  • The Shattered World, and its sequel, The Burning Realm, by Michael Reaves. A fantasy version that justifies this trope by thousands of wizards did it as desperate damage-control.
  • Star Wars Legends has lots of these:
    • The Graveyard of Alderaan is a debris field created in the wake of Alderaan's destruction by the Death Star, still dense and active due to the short time passed since the event.
    • Jedi Academy Trilogy: Anoth was shattered by some cataclysm in the ancient past, leaving it as three distinct chunks that remain in each other's vicinity due to their gravitational pulls. Two fragments are close together to share an atmosphere, which is wracked by constant storms as the fragments scrape together and generate immense static discharges. The third is further off and a little more stable, enough so as to be able to host a small, compact outpost.
    • Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor: Taspan II was shattered at some point in the past by an incident with a gravity well projector, creating a cloud of unstable debris that made travel through the system very hazardous.
  • Sundered Lands has the eponymous Sundered Lands, which used to be one giant planet until a magician unintentionally blew the world apart in a botched attempt at creating a mind control spell.
  • In one book by Carl Sagan—probably Comet—he discusses the possibility of Saturn's Death Star-like moon Mimas having been broken by the large impact that formed the large Herschel crater, with an illustration that depicts such a moon broken into chunks.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Season 5 premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., after the agents are propelled into the future by a Kree monolith, a late-episode glimpse out a porthole reveals that Earth has been reduced to this. Though what happened and who was responsible have been lost to history under Kree occupation, local fixer Deke believes that Daisy, AKA Quake, Destroyer of Worlds, is the one at fault.
  • Star Trek: Picard: The remains of Romulus can be seen in the title sequence.
  • Ultraman Ace: The moon, of all things, turns out to be one of these, after having its surface razed by the monster Lunaticks and it's population being wiped out several decades ago.

  • Downplayed quite heavily in Earthshaker!, as Calfornia and Nevada split apart.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragon Magazine #160 has an article describing how to model exotic world shapes, including wedge-shaped chunks created when two planets collide and break apart and which retained enough dense core matter to stabilize themselves in space. Their gravity pulls towards their former cores, leaving their upper surfaces habitable as long as some means to keep the atmosphere from spilling out (such as mountains, walls, or a deep rift or crater) is present.
    • Mystara: One high-level adventure brings the heroes to what's left of Old Alphatia, a planet destroyed by feuding wizards two thousand years ago. As these same wizards had previously enveloped their entire solar system with breathable air, some of the orbiting shards of their world are found to still be populated.
    • Planescape: The astral plane has debris from countless worlds drifting in it, including some corpses of dead gods large enough, in some cases, to build fortresses on.
    • Ravenloft: Zig-zagged — the Demiplane consist of many drifting chunks of the landscape, but these were never connected to one another and were instead torn from many independent worlds.
    • Spelljammer: Some air worlds, such as Coliar in Realmspace, are swarms of islands rotating in a common atmosphere without one big body "below". There is also the Astromundi Cluster, consisting of the asteroid leftovers of two collided planets. The Tears of Selûne over Toril are a downplayed case: the vast majority of Selûne, the moon, is in one piece, but a chunk of it was blown offnote  and shattered into a myriad of smaller bodies, creating a trail following Selûne (hence the name Tears of Selûne)
  • Pathfinder (and to a much greater extent, Starfinder in the same setting) features the asteroid belt known as the Diaspora, formed from the destroyed twin planets Damiar and Iovo, in an apparent nod to the "Phaeton" theory, below. Many of the asteroids are still habitable through scientific or magical means.
  • Race For The Galaxy has one of these, but it's generally one of the least useful cards to play on your tableau, as it's worth both very few victory points, and generally doesn't provide any resources at all.
  • Our asteroid belt in Rocket Age was originally a fifth planet, Eris. It still has ruins and even some survivors h hid in some of the larger chunks of rock.
  • Runepunk has the land in which the story takes place actually shifted into a pocket dimension. No-one rightly knows if the land has simply been torn out of the world or the world has been destroyed.

  • In BIONICLE, the planet of Spherus Magna split into Bara Magna, Aqua Magna, and Bota Magna due to the Shattering.

    Video Games 
  • Aion: The Tower of Eternity: The war between the demonic Balaur and the holy Empyrean Lords destroyed the titular Tower of Eternity and split the planet of Atreia into halves — the dark upper half became the home of those who would become the shadowy Asmodians, while the brightly lit lower half is the realm of the radiant Elyos.
  • Allods: The setting is a multitude of disconnected lands with the eponymous name, surrounded by a magical substance known as astral.
  • AMID EVIL has the Arcane Expanse. Formerly a world of powerful mages, it was torn apart by said mages' experiments in manipulating space and gravity. Now, the pieces of the world float aimlessly in a nebula and various dimensions that the mages created. The corrupted survivors dwell in various temples built on the ruins of their world.
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia takes place on a floating continent and a humongous tower floating over a devastated, uninhabitable planet.
  • A Valley Without Wind takes place on a world that has been shattered across time and then glued together completely at random. You can find frozen fields in a deep ice age right next to middle-age deserts, both sharing a border with world-near-death lava flats.
  • Bastion, full stop. As you traverse through the assorted levels, the ground underneath the Kid's feet comes together and falls apart at the slightest whim, even disregarding his habit of wantonly smashing everything he sees into bite-sized chunks.
  • Battleborn: The planet Ekkunar, homeworld of the Eldrid. Some cataclysm fractured the planet several thousand years ago. While still basically spherical, huge geological chunks of the planet are separated from one another, exposing the molten core of Ekkunar. The brightest scientists in the remaining universe are still trying to ascertain why the planet hasn’t flown apart or settled back in on itself. The best guesses still fall back to near mysticism, citing the universe-law-bending Varelsi or some arcane machinery of Ekkuni Dwarves.
  • Destiny has Fundament, the homeworld of what would become the Hive. As a gas giant, it has no natural landforms. However, it has crushed many moons and worlds with its tidal forces, forming continents out of the broken shards of those worlds.
  • Eador has the titular once-whole world that was broken into many "shards" after the event known only as "The Cataclysm". The shards now drift in the Astral Plane, where they occasionally merge between each other, break apart, vanish completely only to reappear later sometimes, get consumed by Chaos or are forcefully included into bigger "worlds" that are ruled by immortal beings commonly known as the Astral Masters.
  • Half-Life: There are those who think that the Borderworld of Xen is something like this. The Nihilanth's original home planet was destroyed in a war against The Combine, and, in his retreat, he transported the fragments, atmosphere, and some of the wildlife to Xen.
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto takes place on The Island, "a massive fragment of a long-lost planet".
  • Halo:
    • The Covenant's mobile capital, High Charity, is built on a broken-off piece of the Prophets' homeworld.
    • Halo 4 shows that Gamma Halo is orbiting one of these.
  • Haven (2020): The crust of the planet Source was shattered into floating islets by the breakdown and explosion of the colony's experimental power plant, leading ExaNova and the Apiary to abandon the planet.
  • Legend of Mana: The world begins much like this — various lands were ripped up and turned into artifacts, which it falls upon the protagonist to piece back together however they prefer. (Of course, they say from the beginning that it's All Just a Dream, so...)
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: In the end, Spyro and Cynder only manage to prevent the end of the world just after after the planet begins to physically break apart. As a result, although the world is stabilized before it is fully destroyed, it is left as a loose swarm of island- to continent-sized chunks floating through the sky.
  • LEGO Dimensions: The hub level of Vorton features a planet that has blown up, to the extent the core is visible, as part of the background.
  • Malkari is a about war in the asteroids left by a destroyed planet.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: H-047c, one of the Andromeda Initiative's "golden worlds" (and the only one they could determine was turian-amino acid friendly), thanks to the local Negative Space Wedgie messing with the mass of some local stellar debris, causing it to slam into the planet with much more force than it otherwise would have. End result, all that's left of the planet is a planet-sized collection of completely dead rock, only good for insane mercenaries looking for a mining opportunity. When Ryder goes on it, the logical result of it being completely dead is made apparent — if Ryder steps outside the protection of the Nomad or some pre-prepared barriers, the sheer amount of radiation will kill them in minutes. At least one other gas giant has a ring system created this way, and it is heavily implied that the asteroid thickets found throughout the cluster were created when Earth-sized or larger planets were destroyed the same way H-047c was.
  • Master of Orion III: As the result of an oversight, the AI always bombards planets from space before dropping troops to invade. Once a computer-controlled empire develops planet-destroying weapons, it becomes incapable of ever conquering colonies since it always blows them up first.
  • Mugen Souls: It's eventually discovered that The Seven Worlds were originally one big world, which was broken into seven pieces and reformed into seven different planets.
  • Myst IV: Revelation: The Age of Spire. According to the supplemental materials, it was a planet whose magnetic core became unstable, which repelled large chunks of metal (and lots of attached rock) right out of the planet. Enough time has gone by that the collective gravitational attraction of the chunks towards the center has reached equilibrium with the magnetic repulsion, long enough that the giant floating fragments have enough gravity to have an atmosphere and even some flora.
  • Outer Wilds has two: Brittle Hollow and Dark Bramble. Brittle Hollow has a miniature black hole at its core, into which huge pieces of the planet's crust break off and fall continuously throughout the game. At some time in the past, a seed of an invasive space-warping plant embedded itself in Dark Bramble; by the time of the game's events, the plant has grown and shattered the planet from the inside. A seed from that plant has also landed on the protagonist's home world of Timber Hearth, which means it might go the same way in the future. That is, if not for the sun going supernova 22 minutes into the game.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
  • Shadow of the Wool Ball: In the intro of Rise of the Wool Ball, the cat leader shatters the protagonist's planet into three larger pieces (plus a lot of debris floating around), so as to easier strip it of its natural resources. Luckily it's pieced back together in the ending.
  • Sacrifice: The setting is a world that was shattered in a war between the gods.
  • Sonic Unleashed: After Super Sonic ends up captured and loses the power of the Chaos Emeralds to Dr. Robotnik, the mad scientist uses it to awaken an abominable creature from within their world. However, something goes wrong and the world ends up broken. Sonic is later joined by a mysterious spirit to help try and fix this.
  • Space Empires: In the earlier entries of the series, after blowing up a planet, you can colonize the resultant asteroid field. You are unable to colonize asteroids any more as of SEIV. Note that you can also create planets in the games, and you can accidentally (or intentionally) create a planet out of the asteroid colony.
  • Star Fox Adventures: The planet Sauria had this happen, and the main quest is to put it back together before it gets more shattered and destroys the whole system with it.
  • Star Trek Online: There are are a large number of these in the various systems in the game. Too many to list. Notably the Romulus system.
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • Malachor V. The reason it became this way was due to Mandalorian Wars, where the Jedi Exile was ultimately left with no other option but to authorize the use of an extremely-dangerous superweapon onto the planet, thus ending the war once and for all.
    • Peragus in the same game may be a partial example as it has a large chunk blown out due to a mining accident. The first level of the games takes place in a mining facility built within a large asteroid in orbit around the planet.
  • Stellaris: You usually find worlds like this in systems with black holes or signs of Precursor activity, or in rare cases you can make your own.
    • Two types of Fallen Empires may spawn with broken planets in their home systems. The Holy Guardians have "The Mistake," a planet with a huge chunk blown out of it, revealing a glowing core. The Enigmatic Observers have a home system with a family theme, so their homeworld of "Cradle" orbits a gas giant called "Sky Father" along with its fellow moons "Mother" and "Brother," but "Sister" has been ruined forever by some disaster.
    • You can also create some yourself if the Contingency shows up as your endgame crisis. Defeating it requires destroying its five Machine Worlds with Orbital Bombardment, and since these worlds are jam-packed with Killer Robot factories down to the very core, all that remains when the guns fall silent is identical to The Mistake mentioned above.
    • Three Origins include a shattered world. In the Shattered Ring The Interloper was a rogue planet that shattered when it collided with and destroyed one of your ring world's segments. In Void Dwellers your capital habitat hovers over The Fragments, presumably the remains of your homeworld. In Doomsday your homeworld detonates about 40 years into the game leaving a broken world behind.
    • The Voidspawn and Ether Dragon Hatchling both incubate inside worlds that fracture when the creature is born.
    • Finally, the Apocalypse DLC allows you to build a good old-fashioned planet-cracker to reduce a world to a clump of debris. You can use it to utterly obliterate your enemies, or blow apart uninhabitable worlds so you can build mining stations in their remains.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe: On is shown in a Bora-controlled mining sector. It is likely that Bora themselves did it in order to better mine the planet's resources.
  • Tales of Arise: Late into the game, the party discovers that Rena — contrary to everyone's belief — is an all-but-dead world. Rather than being broken however, it's more that the planet has been literally sucked dry, leaving only enough mass on the outer edges to make the planet appear whole when seen from Dahna, when in reality it appears far more like a chewed-up apple.
  • The Tone Rebellion: The goal is to reassemble your broken planet.
  • Trove had this happen as a result of the Sun Goddess, in a bid to protect her people from the Moon Goddess after a long war between the two.
  • Vexx was set on an exploded planet, various parts of which are scattered across the sky, with each level being a different one. There is a definite downwards direction, with it being possible (and infuriatingly easy) to fall off the edge.
  • Wizard101: The Great Spiral is one of these held in a spiral. Each island rock or rock cluster is called a world with a unique theme and races. Transport between the worlds of the spiral happens through Cool Gates.
    • It was created when the grandfather tree using the pieces the first world that was shattered by a war between the three great races.
    • The same Spiral is also the setting of its sister game Pirate101. Here inter-world transport isn't through stylized doors. Pirates instead use giant sky whirlpools.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Outland, the remains of the planet Draenor shattered by demonic energies, is the main setting for the first expansion. The main continent and a few outlying "islands" remain floating in the Twisting Nether.
    • The Shattering in Cataclysm nearly reduced Azeroth to this. Only timely intervention by the Earthen Ring prevented complete devastation.
    • Argus in Legion is partway to this trope, as entire fragments have either been pulled free or sunken into the surface due to the Legion's strip mining. Eredath, its former capital, now floats high above the rest of the surface.
    • Many Legion outposts are nothing more than blasted rock floating in the Twisting Nether.
  • X: Rebirth: The Albion system, which first appeared in X3: Albion Prelude, has a rocky planet that has been shattered into a dozen massive fragments by unknown means. In the years after the collapse of the jumpgate network, the Plutarch Mining Corporation has built up an entire industrial sector in the space between the segments. The first ride through the Super Highway system towards it is pretty alarming due to the highway skimming mere kilometers away from a jagged edge of the planet.
  • Wrath Unleashed: Apparently, the world was destroyed by a cataclysmic war between good and evil in the distant past, and the Demigods are fighting each-other over misshapen, patchwork continents floating in the void of space.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY, a large chunk of the moon is broken into smaller, scattered, floating fragments. It is revealed in Volume 6 that this was caused by the God of Darkness's departure from Remnant.

  • In Schlock Mercenary there's not much left of Io after a mining accident.
  • Feretta's Tale of Tails (warning:NSFW) takes place on a Flat World where the laws of gravity get weird around the edges. The world was destroyed by a cosmic devourer nine times, and the planet's guardians have saved and terraformed this sliver of dirt with the post-singularity technology they developed.

    Western Animation 
  • Not quite shattered, but a sizable chunk is missing from the planet containing the land of Ooo in Adventure Time. Implied to have occurred during the Great Mushroom War.
  • Based off of the opening sequence in The Jetsons, it can be implied that before the series began, the Earth exploded, leaving a large number of chunks of rock on which the buildings were built on. It's terrifying if you think about it, really. (1960s episodes showed that the Earth was actually in one piece and full of lush green grass and hills, but the 1980s episodes portrayed the planet as an uninhabitable wasteland as part of a Green Aesop.)
  • Looney Tunes:
  • The French-Canadian cartoon Skyland takes place on a still-habitable shattered Earth.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lola Sayu, home of the Citadel, is missing almost an entire hemisphere and has an exposed core. It's not clear what cataclysmic event caused it to end up this way. Regardless of what happened, it's not a safe planet to traverse thanks to a combination of difficult terrain, strong winds and lots of sulphur-stenched lava.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • In "The Protector of Concord Dawn", a rather large portion of the planet Concord Dawn is trailing behind the planet proper as an asteroid field, as a direct result of the numerous wars fought by the Mandalorians that live there.
    • Some Season 1 episodes brought us to Anaxes, a planet destroyed by an as-yet unexplained phenomena. The planet “later” appeared still in one piece in the final season of The Clone Wars, showing that its destruction was fairy recent.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "It Could've Been Great", the heroes discover a hologram that reveals that this would've been the Earth's fate had the gem colony been finished: Earth's crust is segmented into pieces and/or suspended high above the exposed core and apparently drained of its mantle. It's plenty obvious in-universe that no native life on Earth would've survived this.
    • When the Gem Homeworld is seen from a distance in "Legs From Here to Homeworld", it turns out to be cracked into at least three large chunks and several plumes of debris, all floating loosely together. It raises the question of just how far the Homeworld Gems went in stripping their planet of its resources.
  • Transformers: Cybertron, while not completely shattered, does have some chunks missing out of it.

    Real Life 
  • The Earth and the Moon.
    • A now-discredited theory held that the Earth spun so fast in its early days that a globule fissioned off, forming the Moon.
    • Currently the Giant Impact Hypothesis is the big one. It's oddly not all that different from the fission theory. A Mars-sized object (called Theia) hit the Earth about 4.4 billion years ago and threw out enough material to form the Moon.
      • The most recent proposal is that both the Earth and the Moon were formed from an impact of two planets significantly larger than Mars, the debris of which coalesced and then collided again. This would better explain why the Moon's composition is nearly identical to that of the Earth.
    • The Moon in a sense is a shattered world, as the massive impact that formed the large Imbrium basin created also a series of both radial and concentric faults to such crater shattering the lunar crust, and had the impact that formed the still larger South Pole-Aitken Basin a different geometry (high-angle impact at high speed instead of a low-angle, grazing, one at a relatively low speed) it's thought it could have become such a kind of world for a time at least.
  • In a previous theory of the formation of The Solar System (now discredited), the asteroid belt was the remains of a fifth planet, Phaeton. Current theory instead says that Jupiter's gravity prevented the material in the asteroid belt from coalescing into a planet in the first place, making it an inversion if anything; the dwarf planet Ceres is believed to be the "seed" of this hypothetical planet that was prevented from absorbing the rest of the asteroid belt. This hasn't stopped the previous theory from popping up in Science Fiction stories, though, particularly in older stories or stories which aren't really all that "science-y" anyway, because a planet that blew itself up in a nuclear exchange ... or was blown up by someone else in retaliation ... makes a nice anvilicious Aesop.
    • This theory was further discredited by the fact that the combined mass of the asteroid belt would be smaller than Earth's moon, meaning it wouldn't even be a full planet under the current definition.
      • On another hand, it's believed that many small bodies have been ejected from the Solar System by encounters with planets, so the primordial Asteroid Belt may have been much denser.
    • Despite the above, many asteroids qualify as shattered worlds since it's thought they're the remains of larger ones destroyed on impacts with others. Such an example is the asteroid Flora and its "family." Meanwhile, Vesta's most conspicuous feature is a huge crater (actually two craters) that occupies most of its southern hemisphere and whose responsible impacts expelled to space some of Vesta's mass.
  • Some of the chunkier rings of the Solar System's Gas Giants may have once been fragile moons, torn apart by impacts or tidal forces. Some of the stranger moons appear to have formed from some of these large fragments colliding and having enough mutual gravitational attraction to stick.
  • Early space-probe images of Miranda, one of the moons of Uranus, depicted such a patchwork of terrain that it's been theorized that this small moon was once shattered, then re-coalesced from its scattered pieces.
  • Tectonic plates. Essentially, we live on a more-or-less rigid sphere, with the inside of it so hot it's literally filled with melted rocks... and that sphere is broken.
  • As per the asteroids mentioned above, the large impacts suffered by the Moon, Earth, Mars, and presumably Mercury and Venus too would have been powerful enough to expel a significant amount of chunks of them to space, especially in the case of our only natural satellite given its feeble gravity -some meteorites are know to come from either Mars or the Moon, having been sent into space in such way. However, as noted above their gravity would have turned them into spheres even in the case of the most extreme whacks.
  • It has been theorized (and ways to detect them proposed) relatively small planets, down to Earth-like ones, could survive the red giant phase of their stars, albeit stripped down to their cores or nearly so, proving they were engulfed during the very latest evolutive stages of their suns.


Video Example(s):


All the land is gone

Atreyu and Falkor float across a field of floating rocks, which is all that is left of Fantasia after the Nothing consumed it.

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Main / ShatteredWorld

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